Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Like a prison cell for a monk.

Ok! So i had a very busy day yesterday following the Design Star Premiere sunday night.   I started the day with a lot of not-drawing and not-sketching, followed by hours of staring.  I mean, I am very adept at staring, can do it all day long if necessary - just watch me, wait...that's right, you kinda did.  Later in the afternoon I cruised down to greyhound, i thought i would go ahead throw myself under the bus as I seem to be strangely good at that on national TV (where I ran into Court...so weird).  I finished the day up at a bed-making seminar, and I'm happy to announce that I considered making my bed this morning.  (not really)

Overall it was a pretty productive day.   I rewatched the show, which I LOVED, thank you Mark Burnett (I might've watched it a total 3 times now, maybe) which is better the second time for those of us who were overwhelmed the first time.  The second time I could look at things more objectively and here is what I came up with:

a.  I was petrified.  It was day 1, and I don't think I was really ready for the competition.   (If anyone has a time machine, hook me up)   Not an excuse I know, but part of the reason I failed.   My brain kinda froze and it felt like a nightmare.  I'm not kidding there were certain times where I was like, 'There is no way this is actually happening, i'm just gonna wake up,'  I realized about halfway through the day that things weren't turning out as I thought and I started to freak out a bit.

There is no way to really prepare for being on this show, and some/all of the designers adapted to the competition so much quicker than I did, unfortunately.

b. Watching it back, I still stand behind everything that I put in that room, I wouldn't take anything out, but I didn't have enough, or even close to enough in it.  Here was my 'strategy':  I wanted to create a room that looked like a collection of pretty things that all worked together and not a bunch of stuff from Pearl River store in Chinatown (Michael has eclectic style, collected, not sticking to any one style).  I thought I had such 'integrity' and was being so 'discerning' while shopping and styling only buying things that I would want to own, but that strategy fell short pretty quick, it wasn't enough for the white box challenge and I realized I had been WAY too picky.  I needed more furniture, I needed more color, for sure, and I think that had I not painted the floor  or had I added a big rug-like-thing it would've saved me.  (note to future design star contestants, painting the floor is a total time suck and can be a disaster as you have to wait and wait for it to dry before you can get in there- i used this time to stare, so it was perfect for me).  I think if I would've had a huge piece of wood, I could have made one big string art, that would have been more impactful and interesting.

a.  I did need to defend myself more. I was so disappointed in myself, I felt so defeated so I went into self-depricating mode, which is better than the self-delusional mode, by the way - i wasn't fooling myself or trying to fool others into thinking that what I created was good enough, I was just trying to criticize myself first because i knew it would make it harder for them to, which it did.  

c.  I've seen the show before and the judges are always super critical on execution.  So when I was rigging the tripod lamp with the driftwood I thought it looked too haphazard, it wasn't perfect, so I didn't put it in.  I made all these starburst wall art with chop sticks that coulda been rad, but they looked too 'home made' for me, so I left them out.  I was going to attempt to build a console and after starting realized that I didn't have the skills to do it properly (nor did my helper), so I didn't.  I remember thinking, nope, don't put it in if you could get in trouble for it.   The judges actually were less concerned with everything being perfectly executed and more concerned with your creativity.  oops.

d.  You need color and contrast on tv, especially in the white box.  You know all those sophisticated colors that we all love to live in?  They don't really translate on TV very well, in a huge room of halogen lights, without any daylight.  Sometimes, and just sometimes, they look like a prison cell for a monk.  oops.

Alright so to clear up a few things:

I am not proud of myself for not not drawing or sketching. I literally don't know how.  Don't feel bad, i'll be fine, i've put myself into a 'staring' rehab program, it involves a lot of eye patches and hands tied to pencils and paper.  When I said 'I don't sketch or draw, I just stare' I was making fun of myself , being ironic.  But let's be clear I wish I could sketch and draw, it would've helped a lot.  And for the record I am thinking and visualizing while i'm staring, most of the time anyway... i think.

I am not anti-bed making.  I told Michael that I didn't make my bed, but I think i was trying to convey how unfussy i am.   I like loose, natural beds, that's all.  so kill me.


The white box challenge has always been the only real conceptual challenge - you don't have to design a room that people actually have to live in - it's conceptual.  Julie embraced this challenge more than me, but since no one else really designed conceptually either, it made hers look like crazytown.  She went for it.  Julie designs night clubs, temporary spaces, spaces that are more conceptual. Were the walls a little wacky? yes. but the goose feathers on the floor could have been weird in a pretty way if other elements in the room had been different.  She at least thought outside (oh, am I really about the say it, i can't stop myself)  the box.  ah...  Coulda been me, Julie, coulda been me, at least you don't make bad puns.  Julie isawesome, though.  She is smart as a whip.  Check out her blog


Ok.  We had five minutes to prepare for our videos with the camera guy, where you could either write a script for yourself or not.  I waved the five minutes, mainly because i'm super hardcore.  (kidding, If I was going to write a script I would need longer to do it perfectly, and I thought that it would bog me down, make me worried that I was going to fast or slow, fumbling the words, etc.)  So I did what felt natural.  I know it wasn't my best work, but I think it kept me from going home.

Please please please realize that hosting is soooooo much harder than it looks.  Candice, Genevieve and Vern have had years and years of practice and they make it look so easy.  We've had none.  It looks like you just walk around and talk about what you just did, but you have to engage the audience, look at the camera, which is super foreign already, relate information, decide what information you should impart, manage your time, start it off well, finish it strong, no fumbling, mixing up words, no saying 'like' too much, and be yourself, have a great personality - all without practicing or ever having done it before in your life.  It's hard.  (there was no starting and stopping, no re-do's, no editing at all)

Whose designs i liked:

I thought Casey's was tasteful, loved the navy and the wood and it didn't look like Pearl River at all.  (although, in this pic, the navy looks black, and you miss the big brass cymbal that she hung on the half-wall)
 I also think that Trent was in the bottom six for no reason - i thought his colors were pretty, he styled the bed nice and the canopy thing above it was really pretty.

Nina's and Tera's looked like the the most 'completed' rooms.

Stacey and Michaels rooms  had the most elements of someone's personality, there were a lot of little moments that were really thoughtful.

***OH!!! did anybody catch the way I clap??? I look like I just learned how to, like i'm a toddler.  I just kinda bang my two palms together erratically.  Keep on the lookout for it, it's hilarious.

So there we are folks.  See why I was so nervous last week?  I knew what was coming, and it wasn't pretty.  But i'm still here (and there).  Watch next sunday. It only gets better.

Normal style post tomorrow.


  1. You almost gave me a heart attack watching it! Geeze! When it came down to the hosting videos, I KNEW you had to do something amazing to stay - and you did! I think it was really smart to do a "how to fix this" type take on it all... not overly self-depreciating but really honest... and the judges felt the same. I'm excited for future episodes because now that you (or your "then" self) has a feel for the whole nature of the competition, you can go in swinging! Yay!

  2. my husband always makes fun of me for staring so when you said that, we both started laughing. you are my favorite contestant - i'll be following your blog during the show! good luck!!!

  3. I've been anxious to see your take on the show and I fully agree with your summary. As a designer, I CAN NOT imagine having to pull things together under those restraints (time, budget, Chinese market, etc....)It was really wacky to watch you on TV because I have been following your blog since you started. Sadly it doesn't come on until 11pm here in Idaho! I usually go to bed around 9 or 10 and managed to stay up till 12. You did a great job and I can't wait to see what you do next week (I'll drink some coffee :)!

    Allison Paige Interior Design

  4. This blog post shows that you have far more grace and tact that most do. Kudos for being imperfect and for boosting your cast mates here.

    It's an interesting point about color and TV. I can't imagine how hard it must be to make decisions with professional designers judging you, but also with the TV medium in mind.

  5. You go, girl! I think you did well and I know you've hit your stride now. Can't wait to see more.

  6. Ahh! I missed the show, but have it taped (how old school am i?).Love your re-cap and can't wait to watch!

  7. when it started i thought oy, emily is a marathoner (liberty for target post) and this show is all about the sprint. you'll be fine, but just need to speed up your brain to make faster decisions based on your intuition. in the big picture, you already are a design star based on your work!

  8. Oh you are so funny. Love reading your blog and now I'm going to hope they replay the first episode. I'll be watching for sure. Congratulations on making it through the first challenge.

  9. I'm so glad you weren't voted off! Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think that's OK...........I'm friends with John and Mary and I know your fabulous parents as well:) I've watched this show all seasons but the first so I was SO excited when Mary told me you were going to be on. You're hilarious and I think you will go far in the competition because after they showed your walk-through of your room I knew they'd keep you because you were so funny and self-depricating. I just read your blog and your naturally funny, I really hope you do well on this competition. Good luck!!

  10. GIRL. Apparently since the bar cart purchase I have been doing nothing but drinking. I have NO other excuse than extreme cocked-ness for not even KNOWING you were on this show. Seriously, wasted and drooling on pillows over here. I am mortified! Good thing I'm drunk. Who can be mad at a drunk broad with a sick bar cart, right? I'm alllll over it from now on and shall report back immediately with what I'm sure will be glowing props. For the record, in college, before I changed my major from interior design because of the math requirement (seriously), I also realized I couldn't draw my way out of a paper bag. Screw it I say, you've got style, sister, and that's what counts in the end. That and drinks from the bar cart. Duh.

  11. Hey i didn't realize you are a contestant this season, how cool! I'm going to have to see if I can catch it on Comcast On Demand!! I'll be following here on...

    I'm so excited for you!

  12. I missed the first show:-(

    I always miss the first show of design star, but I'll make sure to follow from here on out!

  13. The show was wonderful and I loved every minute of it. We were cheering like it was a basketball game and every time you showed up, we squealed. It really was better than a jail cell. It was calm and soothing. From Mom

  14. I had to pop over to see your blog after Micah's tweet. I LOVE that you're sharing your insight from being on the show. I thought your hosting was really smart and very likeable just as this post is. I'm rooting for you! And as a fellow starer (I worked in retail for many years and have stared at countless walls trying to decide how to merchandise it) I knew exactly where you were coming from. I'll be watching next Sunday and in the meantime I'm going to peruse your lovely blog.

  15. Although I agree that a couple of the rooms looked more "finished", I'd take your design over ANY of the others ANY day. I loved the way you used organic natural materials, textures, and colors and stayed away from anything cheesy from the Asian market. It must have been difficult to stick to what you know is tasteful with those constraints, but ultimately, yours was my favorite!

  16. Emily, I so admire you even going on the show! It sounds so challenging! I haven't watched it yet (as I don't own a tV!:) but can't wait to see it!!

  17. Emily!
    I LOVED watching you on the show! I had it on my calendar for weeks and totally looked forward to it. You were totally engaging on your video...much more spontaneous than Julie, though I thought she also did a good job! Your hidden talent is blogging. Who knew?! You are funny, funny, FUNNY! Loved it, was totally entertained. I know its all pre-taped, but I want to say "good luck" for next week. Can't wait for Sunday :) xoxo Leslie

  18. Emily,
    No one did well on that challenge! You are adorable, and now you have your head in the game. By the way, my name is Emily Henderson too. Glad I found your blog, I will be following!

  19. I was cheering for you from the start...mostly because I read a profile about you on my favorite and my best and decided that I like your style. Way to go on the hosting gig, it came off very natural and likeable - which is what they're looking for. :)

  20. Aloha Emily!

    You did great! You stayed on the show! I think you're way too hard on yourself. It's just the beginning. The best part, you'll get to WOW us next week! You have so many fans here in Oregonia and we will be cheering you on through each challenge!
    KTF (keep the faith) and good luck on the task ahead!!!!

  21. that shit was hard. no doubt. i was behind your concept 100 percent.
    we are rooting for you bloggeremily.

  22. I thought you did great, hosting has to be hard !

  23. Hey Emily,
    It was fun watching the show and my daughter (who wants to be a fashion designer) loved it too. I think being in the bottom 2 the first episode is actually going to help you in the long run. You got a lot more camera time because of it which showcased your personality and now you are the underdog that everyone is rooting for.
    Good Luck!
    -Reni Meurer Kimball

  24. Hi Emily!

    Loving you so far!!

    I don't make my bed either!! ;-)

  25. I don't know how anyone could watch the show and not cheer for you! you are normal and your personality shines through and i love it! and your video totally won over the judges.



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